, The Our Lady of Sinj route


Humans are the only beings on Earth who ask about meaning, all other being follow the principles of nature without questioning anything. Why are humans only beings in this world who are so sensitive to finding and discovering the meaning, why are we burdened by the quest to find the meaning? Wouldn’t it be easier if we to just followed the rhythm of the big mechanisms of nature like all other beings and things in this world do? Human actions are always burdened by the question of quality of the choices we made. We are unhappy or offended if we realize or if it is pointed out to us that our choices were not meaningful, the best, wise or well-coordinated. We don’t understand, rationalize, justify and discredit sometimes by saying that everything is a product of chance and that there is no meaning but deep down inside we feel that there is a meaning that we need a meaning that everything was made in wisdom, that the designs surpass us. Deep down we yearn for wisdom, deeply we yearn to imitate its principle.

Animals also have motivation, they react from emotion and their actions also follow a certain meaning but that meaning is bestowed upon them, they cannot self-determine themselves in relation to meaning while humans are the only beings who can consciously go towards or against the meaning. Humans can go against the meaning in a destructive way that destroys them and the others but humans can also go ‘against’ the meaning in other, bold ways. Humans are the only ones who can ‘brake’ the order of the natural laws and mechanisms in favor of something that we decide is important. Humans are the only ones who can come to a conclusion that something is important. Humans are the only ones who can willingly and decidedly give themselves for an ideal. Humans are the only ones who can understand the concept of ideals and values. To dare to do something that is not of immediate psychophysical benefit for us requires a strong urge of an instinct or an ideal in its background. To put in strength, time, resources, to leave our comfort zone because of something that we gave importance to or because of something we found meaning in is deeply out of ‘natural meaning of things’ and it is deeply on the path of ‘finding a deeper meaning’, the meaning of existence, of life, of being, of values,… To climb a highest mountain is such a venture. To give your time and effort towards those who can never repay you is such a venture. To take time to go on a pilgrimage is such a venture. A person finds deeper meaning, some other meaning, in something seemingly meaningless or in something just barely psychophysically useful, he finds something that makes the whole thing worth it although it is tiring and a ‘waste of time’ that could have been spent on comfort, selfishness of calculated benefit. That is the root of ideals – a meaning which surpasses us. We feel it intuitively, that there are things above us, that are mysteries always worth coming back to although sometimes imperfect in practice.

Our values and ideals make up our identity, not physical identity defined by time and space but our deep identity about who we are, what kind of people are we, to what we strive. As humans we can sense by ourselves what does it mean to be a good person, what does it mean to have and to keep the values, but as people we are also witnesses of ugly consequences of our own wanderings on those paths, when ideals and values become a prison to us and to others around us. Family, identity, history, nation, roots, Christianity, and above that truth, love, belonging,… all those are values that in one way or another, depending on our own personal experience, every human carries deep inside him, every human will notice that those concepts attract him and surpass him, that he needs guidance so they don’t stray into ugly deviations and misuse. As faithful we believe that the source of all good concepts is in God, we believe that God is the author and the source of all good, we believe that God, and what he says, is our ultimate guide through values, towards values and for values that we can seek and find our identity in God and the right measure for values and ideals and that that is something worth putting yourself out for, in prayer, by pilgrimage. Mark Twain said: ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ To find the meaning of your life, to find your ideals, your mission, values, something we are willing to stand for and go after it, something we find important, what fulfills us and where we want to fulfill ourselves and where we expect success is key. A person without a sense of meaning and without a goal decays. A person without a name, without a community that supports him, without a home, family, nation… is feeling insecure and unfulfilled, ripped out. Individually to each one of us some aspect might be more important than the other, but generally value and meaning, feeling of security and belonging, feeling of efficiency and fulfillment is something we all want and something we all search for.

At this initial point of Our Lady of Sinj Trail it’s good to remind ourselves and to ask ourselves what are our values, what are our roots, where are our ideals, for what are we willing to put in an effort? What is the meaning of everything and even of this pilgrimage? The historical frame itself gives us some directives. This place is the cradle of Christianity in this area, it is a cradle of Croatian nationality, it is a cradle of family values, it is a place of pope’s visit who is an impersonated representative of all Christian values, a place of visit by Pope John Paul II who through his own personality in trying times demonstrated what does it really mean to be Peter – the rock. Let’s ask ourselves at this place about our own meaning, about our own values, our own goals and outcomes, about our own wishes and let us remind ourselves about what really matters and for what is worth to put forth our possibilities beyond the sole framework that nature and mechanisms that makes us part of it have to offer us and let’s go after it so that we can be better more meaningful people, uprooted in truth and into what is really deeply human.